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Category Archives: Public Bidding

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Philadelphia Voters to Consider Best Value Bid Procurement

Posted in Public Bidding, Public Contracts

My friend and colleague, Chris McCabe, recently published an opinion piece on concerning the May 16 ballot question that asks Philadelphia voters to approve a change in the way Philadelphia awards public contracts. Currently, Philadelphia, like all municipalities in Pennsylvania, uses an objective lowest responsible bidder standard in the award of public contracts. Under… Continue Reading

Suing a Local Government in Land Use Cases – Part 1 – Substantive Due Process

Posted in Public Bidding, Public Contracts

Because of my personal political persuasions (pro-freedom) and success in litigating cases against the government and other media about those cases businesses frequently approach me about bringing claims against local governments and agencies for interfering with their Constitutional rights.  Actions by local government agencies that could give rise to a Constitutional violation include: treating a developer’s project differently than a… Continue Reading

Federal Judge Rips Shady Procurement Practices at DRPA

Posted in Public Bidding

In an opinion overturning a $17,000,000 bridge painting contract for the Commodore Barry Bridge, a United States Federal Judge called the procurement practices of the Delaware River Port Authority “a black box . . . obscure and unexplained, and lacking any indicia of transparency or the hallmarks of a deliberative process.” The case involved lead paint remediation… Continue Reading

A Reminder Not to Commit DBE Fraud

Posted in Disadvantage Business Enterprises (DBE), Public Bidding, Public Contracts

As has been discussed on this blog, the most common form of fraud involving the Department of Transportation’s disadvantaged business enterprise program, involves a “pass through” entity that performs little or no actual work on the construction project.  Under this common scheme, a general contractor hires a subcontractor that has been certified a DBE and… Continue Reading

Philly Flags Firms for Flaunting DBE Rules

Posted in Disadvantage Business Enterprises (DBE), Public Bidding, Public Contracts

The City of Philadelphia flagged eleven (yes this one goes to eleven) prime contractors for flaunting the City of Philadelphia’s DBE rules according to the City of Philadelphia Office of Inspector General.  According to the news release, the chief offender, William H. Betz, Inc., may have gotten off easy.  According to the OIG, Betz facilitated… Continue Reading

Are You Violating The False Claims Act?

Posted in Contracts, Davis Bacon Act, Disadvantage Business Enterprises (DBE), Public Bidding

One of the great things about living in a large city is being able to walk everywhere.  I like walking because it is when I do my thinking.  Sometimes I do too much thinking that it causes me to walk several blocks past my intended location. We sometimes lose focus on what is happening around… Continue Reading

Is Your Disparity Study Accurate?

Posted in Disadvantage Business Enterprises (DBE), Public Bidding, Public Contracts

(This guest blog post from John Sullivan, Esquire, a Baltimore lawyer who specializes in DBE and MWBE disparity studies. John’s website is Croson Legal Services.  He can be reached via email at For more than two decades it has been true that subcontracting goals – Disadvantaged Business Enterprise goals on federal work and Minority and… Continue Reading

PA Board of Claims Has Exclusive Jurisdiction Over Contractor Claims

Posted in Public Bidding, Public Contracts

My age makes me part of perhaps the last generation to go to college where computers, the internet, and email were not in widespread use.  Before the internet age, Villanova University, where I went to undergraduate and law school, would notify students of the time and location of final exams by posting several small print… Continue Reading

DBE/MBE Goals Threaten to Make Complete Mess of Project

Posted in Disadvantage Business Enterprises (DBE), Public Bidding, Public Contracts

Here is one I have not seen before, a project that threatens to get derailed because the general contractor proactively included M/WBE goals in its contract.  The story reported in the Baltimore Business Journal  involves M/WBE hiring goals in Whiting-Turner’s contract to build the Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore.  According to the story, Whiting Turner, the project’s general contractor,… Continue Reading

Bid Protests Are Worth It!

Posted in Public Bidding, Public Contracts

So concludes an upcoming report by the former Dan Gordon, the former head of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy. According to Gordon, among the pro’s of a bid protest are: Protests introduce a relatively low-cost form of accountability into acquisition systems by providing disgruntled participants a forum for airing their complaints; They can increase potential bidders’… Continue Reading

How to File a Federal Bid Protest

Posted in Public Bidding, Public Contracts

In recent years, as private work has become more scare, the competition for public projects has increased.  In turn, so have the number of bid disputes challenging the awards of those public contracts.  Since 2006, the number of bid protest filed with the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) has nearly doubled from approximately 1,300 protest filed… Continue Reading

Does PennDOT Know We Have a Public Private Partnership Act?

Posted in Public Bidding, Public Contracts

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation recently released its first ever “Transportation Performance Report, a detailed rating of the state’s efforts in safety, mobility, system preservation and accountability, with the results underscoring the need for additional transportation investment.” According to the report “In the categories of system capacity enhancements, local bridge conditions, pavement reconstruction and transit infrastructure,… Continue Reading

How to Count Material Suppliers Towards DBE Goals

Posted in Contracts, Public Bidding

(Note:  My DBE related blog post are always among the most read.  When I recently asked folks for help coming up with a future blog post topic, DBE “regular dealer” issues was a near unanimous response.) Under the Department of Transportation (“DOT”) DBE regulations, contractors can only count the value of the work actually performed by a… Continue Reading

DOL to Hold Prevailing Wage Seminar

Posted in Contracts, Davis Bacon Act, Public Bidding, Public Contracts

The Department of Labor is holding a seminar on the Davis Bacon Act and related federal prevailing wage laws in Philadelphia on July 10-12, 2012. To sign up for a training session, email name, title, organization, email address and training location to For more information, visit

The Problem With Low Bid

Posted in Contracts, Public Bidding

Time and time again I see the old adage “if it is too good to be true it probably is” applying to a project gone array.  This was apparently the case with the Palo Alto, CA Library project where the low bidder came in $8 million below the next low bid.  Whatever dreams the local authority… Continue Reading

Florida’s Anti-Cuba Law

Posted in Public Bidding

ENR has an interesting article about a legal challenge to Florida’s (the State not the rapper pictured right) new law that bars the awarding of public contracts to firms that have business interests in Cuba or Syria.   In the case mega-construction firm Oderbrecht seeks to invalidate the Florida law on several constitutional grounds.  First, Oderbrecht… Continue Reading

Interesting Study on State of Our Water Sytems

Posted in Construction Law, Public Bidding

Underground Construction has an article on the results of a study concerning the current state our water systems.  The results are bad news for those that live in areas that are prone to water main breaks (like Philadelphia) and potential good news to the contractors that will be required to perform the work to fix,… Continue Reading

The Statutue of Repose Has Its Moment and Why You Should Care

Posted in Construction Law, Contracts, Public Bidding

Most of the attention given to our country’s aging infrastructure has concerned what we should do to fix it.  Most of the attention contractors have given it has concerned how they can fix it. However, contractors should also be giving attention to their current liabilities on aging – and long ago completed – infrastructure projects. … Continue Reading

Maine Considers PPP Highway

Posted in Public Bidding

Add Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) to a growing list of stage agencies considering private funding for major infrastructure projects.  ENR Reports that MDOT is  a $2 billion, 220-mile closed-access toll highway that would create a direct link from southwestern New Brunswick to southern Quebec.

Commonwealth Court Rules Bid Specification Concerning Performance Bond is Non-Waivable

Posted in Public Bidding

Last month the Commonwealth Court issued an opinion that reiterated the need not deviate from the requirements of the bid specifications when bidding on public work. Section 1402 of the Pennsylvania Borough Code requires all contracts in excess of the base amount of $18,500 to be made to the lowest responsible and responsive bidder.  Generally,… Continue Reading